“Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight Plays Heinz Hall With The Spinners; Daily Grind Performs at Double Wide Grill (CPs Sat., 1/24/14)

1) Gladys Knight, known as the “Empress of Soul,” used to be followed everywhere she performed, and no, it wasn’t by a stalker or the government. She had a group of highly talented male back-up singers called The Pips. Knight—a four-time Grammy Award-winner during her ’70s heyday with The Pips—is best known for the songs “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye).” Last September she released a gospel album, Where My Heart BelongsThe Spinners, a male vocal and dance group who originated in the suburbs of Detroit, also enjoyed considerable success in the ’70s creating top 10 hits, including “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” “The Rubber Band Man,” and “I’ll Be Around.” In ’74, they teamed up with Dionne Warwick to produce the number one smash hit “Then Came You.” Tonight, however, we get a new combination of vintage talent: It’s Knight and the Spinners together at Heinz Hall. 8 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Cultural District.


2) Fresh off an appearance earlier this month at Strip District Music Fest, Daily Grind will lower the volume, but certainly not the intensity, for an acoustic show at Double Wide Grill. The Pittsburgh four-piece draws from alternative rock and hip hop, making for a sound rife with hooks—and these young musicians understand the dedication it takes to make it. Just look at their band name, or check out their new single “The Life & Times, Circa Now” which has lyrics like: “But I would rather be insane than lazy / Even the Beatles spent some time in the van.” The dedication has paid off. From parents’ basements to cross-country tour to headlining local venues like the Hard Rock Cafe and Altar Bar, ’14 was a good year for Daily Grind. The group also released its debut album, The Green Plan, and has another album due this year. 2015 should only bring further success, provided the band members keep to their own slogan and “Stay Grinding.” 9 p.m. 100 Adams Shoppes, Mars.



3) If January finds you in a throwback mood, yearning for old-time melodrama and music, Rodelinda is the opera for you. Pittsburgh Opera is performing G. F. Handel’s stirring 18th-century work with the music played authentically on instruments of the period by members of Chatham Baroque. The opera is based (loosely) on the true story of Rodelinda, Queen of the Lombards, who struggles to remain steadfast while her usurped husband fights to regain his kingdom. One deviation from authenticity: the king’s role was written for an alto castrato, but we no longer castrate young male singers, so the high-pitched part is often sung by a woman. Pittsburgh Opera has Corrie Stallings as King Bertarido and Jasmine Muhammad as Rodelinda. Tonight is opening night with a performance at 8 p.m. Runs through Feb. 1. At CAPA Theater, 111 9th St., Cultural District.

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Rick Handler

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